Scegli la Lingua

Festival dell'architettura



This twenty second issue of FAMagazine contains contributions that are very different from one another: an excerpt from the work of a Spanish philosopher, a review of a book on an Italian architect in Brazil, two articles on the theme of recycling in architecture and contemporary art, and finally two articles that talk about a couple of projects from the first half of the last century, located respectively in Stockholm and the South of France.

Essays, places and events very far from each other that are linked by a search for signs of a communicative link between architecture and the Earth: i.e. the planet, hence this link is the material urgency for ecologically sustainable interventions, but the Earth understood also as the womb from which all things spring, thus the link is also with the ancestral, with the primary cause.

The two dimensions fuse, because respect for and the return to the planet’s lifecycles means thinking of its actions not as a progressive line of linear time but as the cyclicity of circular time. Circular time is that of nature, but also of magic, of myth, of the sacred.

The symbolic, the figurative, the iconic, which are the very languages of myth and the sacred, then become tools for the contemporary.

Concepts as up-to-the-minute as recycling and regenerating, understood in the widest sense of "bringing back to life," recall the possession of qualities and powers that go well beyond the action on materials re-emitted into production cycles. Bringing back to life places and architecture, requires a dowsing capacity to trace submerged currents of life, an almost shamanic understanding to read traces and signs, to see the invisible.

Regeneration presupposes a revelation, which is not open unveiling, but passes via evocative signs, such as the symbol or the icon.

Signs that offer themselves as "seeds" are those described in the opening text, entrusted to the words of Maria Zambrano and her inquiry into poetic reason.

The second article starts from a reflection on the book by Luciano Semerani and Antonella Gallo on Lina Bo Bardi. The “right to the ugly", with which Semerani emblematically summarizes Bardi’s discourse, is a hymn to the possibility of architecture being fruitful to life, becoming rooted as one of the most original, ancestral, visceral bonds of man to his birth on Earth. Being regenerated is western architectural culture itself, devoured and digested to become something else, something fertile to nourish new life, in a literal meaning of metamorphosis and crossbreeding.

Also Giovanni Marras cites the projects of Lina Bo Bardi, amongst others, in his essay. Speaking of the regeneration of the constructed, Marras investigates the tools of knowledge and intervention which architectural composition brings forth to identify the potential for regeneration of a work of architecture. A central concept is that of the form-limit: the significant stable form capable of representing the constructive and formal logic in an architectural organism even after physical transformations and use. Starting from recognition of the shape-limit the different compositional modes of inlaying, overlapping, the extension of the envelope, and the possibility of triggering new life cycles may be experienced.

The relationship between foundation and transformation also returns in the essay by Silvana Segapeli, who describes the passage of architecture from Promethean desire to a search for a regenerative biological dynamic, like metamorphosis which, unlike revolution, ensures a link with the past, with foundation.

The premonitory signs of this research are traced in a critique of the consumerism of the artistic avant-garde, with their works on rejection, then in ecological thought, however, the conclusion is that recovery, reuse and recycling are not concepts linked only to the material challenges posed by the culture of eco-sustainability, but extend to a dimension that Segapeli defines "maieutic", the recovery of a shared cultural and symbolic heritage.

The last two articles only apparently move away from the theme of regeneration, to give it in reality a deeper reading, entrusted to the Masters of architecture who practised through a sagacious contact with the Earth.

Carlotta Torricelli explores an exemplary episode of the shamanic capacity of the architect to detect the founding values of a place: the participation of Asplund and Lewerentz in the competition to enlarge the cemetery of Stockholm, in 1914.

The project itself is identified with the ability to grasp the symbolic value of the concrete data of reality, "…the terrible or benign presences with which our spirit can come to an agreement until it has lost the faculty to see the invisible in the visible".

The project as a tool of revelation is evident in the techniques used to represent the place in the competition illustrations.

Carlotta Torricelli compares the search for the "original matrix of the place" carried out in those illustrations with the proposals and representations that we see today in many architecture competitions: the evocative power of the signs is drained by the easiness of accumulating realistic images. The mythical form of narration leaves room for description, entrusted to reassuring renderings with respect to the traumatic effects of the proposed measures.

The research of Asplund and Lewerentz, wherein the symbolic dimension is tension towards the absolute and, at the same time, is firmly rooted to the place, can be found in Le Corbusier’s project for the Basilique de la Paix et du Pardon in Sainte-Baume.

Sandro Grispan in his essay re-interprets the project as the representation of a mandala, a spiritual model of the ordering of the world derived from the symbol of Le Corbusier’s journée solaire de 24 heures. The spaces of the Basilica, quarried out of the earth, propose a processional initiatory path within a constructed symbol, the representation of a vision of the world, of nature and Man, of the correspondences between Macrocosm and Microcosm, in an "unequivocal archaic cosmological conception based on the cyclic structure of Time".

It is the last two articles, in re-reading our "ancient contemporaries", to again resort to the words of Zambrano, which confirm that sustainable architecture is not only that which we will produce, exploit and then raze at a lower economic and environmental cost, but also that whose signs will be able to give us back the primary condition as inhabitants of the Earth.

Giuseppina Scavuzzo

y. V - nr. 25 - jan, feb 2014
edited by: Carlo Gandolfi
y. IV - nr. 24 - sep, oct 2013
edited by: Enrico Prandi, Paolo Strina
y. IV - nr. 23 - jul, aug 2013
edited by: Antonella Falzetti
y. IV - nr. 22 - may 2013
edited by: Giuseppina Scavuzzo
y. III - nr. 21 - oct, nov 2012
edited by: Lamberto Amistadi
Pagina 1 di 1: [1]